PENDLETON — It’s of little doubt that the Fishers Tigers deserve their No. 3 ranking in Indiana high school basketball as they defeated host Arabians 59-44, Feb. 11.
Were it not for too many turnovers and little board action, the Arabians may have made it a different game. At the end of the first quarter, the Tigers were up 15-12, but a rash of turnovers, 20 in all, gave Fishers too many opportunities to score — and they took advantage.
While Pendleton Heights had 18 rebounds for the game, only two were offensive.
“Turnovers and offensive rebounds really are the difference maker,” coach Adam Ballard said. “A lot of our turnovers came from lack of aggressive from being afraid to make mistakes. When you fear failure, you will fail.”
After being tied at 21-21 with 3:40 remaining in half, the Tigers took control after a time out.
By the end of the half, the Tigers were up 32-23, and by the end of the third quarter, the only scoring for the Arabians in those eight minutes was at the free throw line.
“They’re a really good team. You have to give a lot of credit to them,” Ballard said.
Ballard did see several things he liked and hopes to continue.
“When we got our defense set in the half court, they really struggled to get the shots they wanted to get against us. We need to be more aggressive offensively,” Ballard said.
Jamison Dunham led Arabian scoring with 21, 11 of those in the fourth quarter.
Bayden Kanitz and Josiah Gustin each scored seven.
“Brayden Kanitz was very aggressive tonight. Brayden’s always trying to make a play. He never makes a mistake for a lack of aggressiveness. We need more guys who are willing to be that way,” Ballard said.
At 7-13 (4-3, Hoosier Heritage Conference), the Arabians have found success this season, winning four of their past six games.
After Friday’s loss, Ballard said there is more to do before season’s end.
“We have to refocus. We have to be mentally tougher and more confident. Sometimes we allow one bad play to become two, to become four and to become eight. We have to mature and grow up a little mentally.”
The Arabians played host to New Castle on Tuesday, Feb. 15, on Senior Night and travel to Shenandoah Friday, Feb. 18.